A new fatwa has been issued in Jordan by the country’s official fatwa-making body (it’s akin to making sausages, you don’t want to see how that’s done either) that has made chatting between two sexes haram, or, forbidden. I thought that was a rather interesting piece of news. Their “reasoning” seems to be centered on the belief that simply chatting with someone of the opposite sex will lead to romance and thus a physical meeting between the two people/.
Now, when it comes to Jordan, I would agree with the belief that a great deal of the country’s youth do engage in some form of romantic, flirtatious or relationship-type dialog with the opposite sex, and I am actually helping do research on this very topic at the moment. However, it seems that the overwhelming majority do not end up meeting. For most young Jordanians it seems to be a relatively safe way to practice their dealings with the opposite sex without having to meet them face to face, and many will even end up having several “relationships” without actually engaging in any physical confrontation to speak of. For the males, the tendency is actually to just “play around”, primarily by playing pranks on other males under the pretense that they are females, or, to find a wife. For the females, most online encounters with a male tend to be an emotional investment. In either case, whether it is the somewhat pornographic or the somewhat romantic, the physical distance is what is most appealing to them.
Those are just some of the findings so far that I felt were applicable to this story.
With that in mind, I’m not sure how applicable the fatwa’s reasoning is. I think they should have sold it as it being “best” classified as “zina with the tongue,” even though the tongue in this case is a keyboard.
I wonder if all those Islamic matrimonial sites are under threat as well?
Anyways, I still think there should be a moratorium on fatwa-making. Until the Islamic status quo evolves in to a more intellectual and scholarly phase, I trust fatwa-making “bodies” as much as I trust our government’s ability to write policies. Fatwas cannot exist in the forms of answers to random questions, but rather the result of lengthy debates and studies by people who have a legacy of scholarship and intellectualism and not mere reservoirs of information.
To further highlight this point: Somalia has banned women from wearing bras and is whipping them for doing so.